Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module will introduce students to the study of semantic meaning. The focus will be on developing a fluency with analytical tools in semantics and pragmatics, and using these to explain a range of phenomena. Topics covered will include truth-conditional semantics, reference, presupposition, conversational implicature, and Speech Act Theory. Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon real data and analyse the processes of conveying and understanding meaning.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Take-home Assignment 1 (1,500 words) – 40%
• Take-home Assignment 2 (2,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Birner, B. (2012). Introduction to Pragmatics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Chierchia, G., and S. McConnell-Ginet (2000). Meaning and Grammar. An Introduction to Semantics, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Jaszczolt, K. (2002). Semantics and Pragmatics: Meaning in Language and Discourse, Harlow: Pearson Education.
Kearns, K. (2011). Semantics (2nd edition.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Saeed, J. (2008). Semantics. 3rd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge and systematic understanding of concepts and terminology used to account for the way in which meaning is conveyed;
2 Demonstrate systematic understanding of core topics in linguistic meaning and of how semantic and pragmatic theory explains them;
3 Critically evaluate accounts of meaning-related phenomena, including those that have posed challenges for traditional theories;
4 Develop practical linguistic research skills by analysing real data, discussing their findings, and attempting generalisations relevant to the important questions in the field.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate the results of study and work accurately, with well-structured and coherent arguments in an effective and fluent manner both in speech and in writing;
2 Develop their skills in critical reflection and analytical discussion of their own writing and the writing of others;
3 Develop their ability to work cooperatively with others, exercising personal responsibility and sensitivity;
4 Exchange relevant information through the use of shared access to documents and web-based learning.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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